There are so many people and companies talking about different diets and eating plans. Talking about macronutrients, fasting, high fat / low carb, Atkins, paleo and what seems to be hundreds of other different diets—we even have a workshop devoted to Supplement and Fad Diet Facts to help explain the landscape.
It’s no wonder many people are left searching for that one diet that works. You might have even tried a number of these different diets, and eventually reverted back to your norm. Regardless of the type of diet, the one that works is the one that you can stick to.
That’s why one of the best ways introduce a healthy eating plan is build it into your life slowly. You see, humans are creatures of habit. And habits take time to form. In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found that it takes on average 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic. And you can only introduce one habit at a time.
Therefore, unless you can stick to a completely new diet for 66 days, which is very unlikely, you’re not going to succeed in maintaining that diet. The best way to maintain a healthy eating plan is to introduce is as a new habit.
If you’re really serious about making a lasting change to your life, you need to know that changing something like your diet is a process, and it will take time to get it right. There is no magic pill or magic diet that will change your life for you. Just like anything worth having, it takes a bit of hard work and consistency.
So how does this work in principle? Well, I have found that the best way to introduce a new healthy eating plan is to change one meal at a time. Start by altering your least healthy meal. This is probably your dinner, it was for me. Begin by choosing a few healthy meals that are going to be of similar difficulty to prepare and cook as your current meal. Remember, you want to make the change as straightforward as possible to ensure it’s only one habit you’re changing. Having to get down and serious about cooking is changing both your diet and your evening routine.
After the 66 days are up, and you have introduced your new habit, you’ll wonder how you ever lived beforehand. It will feel totally natural to eat healthy meals in the evenings. Then you can look to change another meal, your lunch or breakfast, or even snacking options. In just 6 months you might have a completely different diet and be well on your way to changing your life, with what will feel like minimal disruption.
If changing an entire meal is too difficult to begin with, change something within the meal. For example, if you eat a lot of chips or fries, replace them with salads or vegetables. The key is to be consistent for around 2 months, and the habit will form.
Of course, this isn’t the only way to introduce a healthy meal plan, but it is a very effective method and done I can personally attest to. You can alter any meal first, or reduce snacking, or plan snacks into your meal plan and account for their calories.